“It was a challenge getting people enrolled in benefits. So many times we heard after the fact: ‘I didn’t know about benefits enrollment—no one told me!’ It’s devastating when someone finds out they don’t have coverage, and it’s our job to make sure our employees have the benefits they need. We needed a better way to connect with our workforce.”
– Janine Bradbury, Director of HR
Connecting with a Dispersed Workforce
Helping to support today’s digital workplace, Pomeroy provides holistic IT infrastructure services to companies in various industries, from retail to healthcare to manufacturing. Roughly 600 of their 4,000 global employees work from the company’s Cincinnati-area headquarters, and another 800 work from home. The remainder work at client sites spread across the US, Europe, and South America. Roughly 3,000 employees are in non-desk positions, and nearly two-thirds of employees use client email addresses. This dispersal makes it challenging for Pomeroy’s HR team to reach employees with benefits information and education, especially leading into open enrollment periods.
With a workforce that is increasingly composed of Millennials, Pomeroy has been shifting its benefits and total rewards to better meet the needs of this demographic. This change provided a good opportunity to rethink their approach to communication. “Benefits education is extremely important, with so much to communicate and teach employees,” explains Janine Bradbury, Pomeroy’s Director of HR. Retaining employees and decreasing the volume of inbound calls to HR during open enrollment were two other key reasons to retool the company’s communication approach.
Information and Education, at Their Fingertips
“We spent a lot of time and energy trying to come up with different and unique communications,” Bradbury recalls, “but we couldn’t crack the code.” They found that emails were getting opened— but not read. “People were receiving the information, but were too busy or uninterested to read lots of text,” she continues. “We needed something that would attract the attention of our workforce, draw them into the information, and motivate them to take action.” As luck would have it, they discovered that GuideSpark’s multi-channel, multi-format, campaign-based approach was just what they needed.
Pomeroy’s HR team got on track with an organized campaign that took them through OE season— roughly 6 weeks from October to November. Email was the primary channel they used to deliver “bite-sized” multimedia content, but they also leveraged additional touch-points including posters, mailers, internal TVs, company intranet, and even their annual wellness fair for an in-person push. They started with high-level messaging—an “OE is Coming Soon” teaser and a “Value of Benefits” message on the first day of OE—and got into more details as the season progressed, with cost scenarios and enrollment checklists.
“We sent over ten messages to keep engagement up along the way, and we were thrilled that we didn’t have any ‘fatigue’ throughout the campaign,” says HR Associate, Miranda Terrill. “In the past, employees had to maneuver away from our messages to take their next step,” Terrill explains. “With our new approach, there is a clear call-to-action right next to our content, so they’re able to navigate to our enrollment site seamlessly.” What’s more, employees accessed benefits information after hours and shared it with spouses at home—something they weren’t doing before.
Tuning In—and Taking Action
Pomeroy’s OE campaign reached more than three-quarters of their employees, the vast majority of whom took action after engaging with the communications. This added up to a nearly 10% increase in enrollment, after years of seeing little change. “We were able to keep an eye on the entire experience” Terrill says, “and see if we were effective in getting employees the information they needed to take action and enroll.” Bradbury adds, “This was the first year we didn’t get calls from employees saying they didn’t know about enrollment.”
“We assumed that we had done everything possible and that things couldn’t improve, but this successful OE campaign proved the effectiveness of communicating often, with consistent messaging and multiple channels.”
– Miranda Terrill, HR Associate
Bradbury and Terrill are using their new method of communicating throughout the year, applying it to onboarding and other communication initiatives at Pomeroy. “There’s a lot to be said for employees counting on getting communications on a regular cadence,” says Terrill. “As we send out more information on our benefits,” says Terrill, “we’re keeping the same look and feel so employees recognize our communications and say, ‘This is from HR—and I should pay attention!’”